Curriculum Integration: Twinning of a Core Chemical Engineering Module with a Teamwork & Communication Module

Curriculum Integration: Twinning of a Core Chemical Engineering Module with a Teamwork & Communication Module

J. Yau, S. CHEAH (2011).  Curriculum Integration: Twinning of a Core Chemical Engineering Module with a Teamwork & Communication Module. 17.


Teaching in the Diploma in Chemical Engineering (DCHE) of Singapore Polytechnic largely follows the traditional way of covering various technical disciplines in modular format, taught by faculty with relevant working experience in the chemical and process industries. The teaching is supported by various “soft skills” such as inter-personal communication, report writing and presentation taught separately by faculty from the School of Communication, Arts and Social Sciences (CASS).

Since its adoption of CDIO in 2007, the DCHE Course Management Team (CMT) had directed its efforts at integrating various CDIO skills into suitable core modules in the curriculum. One such module is Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics, taught to Year 1 students where CDIO skills such as teamwork and communication, personal skills and attitudes (e.g. critical and creative thinking) had been integrated. Subsequent evaluation of the module had shown that, although students generally benefitted in learning about CDIO skills in the module, there is a strong need to further integrate the module with key concepts underpinning teamwork and communication. As a result, the various “soft skills” modules are consolidated into a new module entitled Teamwork and Communication Toolbox, to be taught in such a way that it “twins” with the CDIO-infused Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics module.

The CMT works closely with CASS in designing the syllabus and learning outcomes for the Teamwork and Communication Toolbox module. CASS faculty retains the responsibility for teaching the Teamwork and Communication Toolbox module, while DCHE faculty handles the teaching of the Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics module. Student learning is achieved via carefully designed “twinning” activities that requires them to integrate the knowledge gained in both modules.

The paper shares the work done in the “twinning” initiative (including active learning experiences) and compares the impact on student learning before and after the “twinning”. The challenges faced, and future recommendations to further improve the “twinning” process will also be discussed.

(NOTE: Singapore Polytechnic uses the word "course" to describe its education "programs". A "course" in the Diploma in Chemical Engineering consists of many subjects that are termed "modules"; which in the universities contexts are often called “courses”.) 


Authors (New): 
Jessy J.C. Yau
Singapore Polytechnic, Singapore
Curriculum integration
Chemical Engineering
CDIO Skills
Program evaluation
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